The little big man is always open to the challenge of playing a different role but the bottom line is that logon ko pasand aana chahiye.
Excerpts from the Interview:
Your recent release Malamaal Weekly took a decent start despite the lack of big names reinforcing the fact that comedies are the big crowd-pullers today. What, in your opinion, is the reason for the success of this genre?
Thanks to the globalization of the media, people are well-versed with what's happening not just in the country but in every part of the world, and the reality can be quite frightening. Cinema provides them with an escape route and some light moments. However, like it is with fashion, the circle changes periodically with films too. Today it's comedies, tomorrow it could be action adventures or tragic dramas. What is consistent is that cinema is a never-ending source of entertainment no matter what form it takes. That's why I have never restricted myself to any one genre. From the main hero to second leads to character roles, from comedy to intense drama and negative roles, I'm constantly experimenting.
Yes, you have proved yourself in a variety of roles yet still you're basically perceived as a comedian. Doesn't that irk?
What's important is that no matter what role you play logon ko mazaa aana chahiye. As long as people appreciate me and I get the kind of work I enjoy I'm happy. You can call me whatever you want but I know for a fact thatMain Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon, Main Meri Patni Aur Woh and Waqt were not comedies, yet people liked me in them.
Surely it must bother you that lead actors like Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan are today walking away with the award for Best Actor In A Comic Role that was once the due of Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav?
No, there's no naarazgi...no shikayat with any jury. Whoever wins the award deserves it. On my part it's enough that the audience is appreciating my performnces. Not winning an award is not going to erode my confidence as an actor.
Jo mila hai wohi haqeeqat hai, I don't want to speculate on what is still to happen. The screenplay of my life has been penned by the Almighty above. Only he knows what tomorrow holds in store. On my part I can only be patient and wait to see what the new day brings.
The general perception is that after bagging lead roles in films like Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh and nominated alongside the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt for the former you have begun to talk, walk, dress and behave like a superstar yourself.
(Frowning) Who's been saying that? Why? I've never percieved myself as a star or even an kalakaar. I'm just a student of acting and learning everyday. For me every film is a job that I must do well, imandari se, because only if people like me in this film will I get another. I've never wasted precious time projecting or marketing myself. But you can't stop people from talking, can you?
Though Main, Meri Patni... was as critically acclaimed as Main Madhuri Dixit... it wasn't a big commercial success. Does that bother you?
My glass is not empty, it is half full. And as far as I'm concerned Main Meri Patni... was a superhit because today when bigger films are going bust in 1-2 weeks, my film ran for six weeks and was appreciated by both the press and the public alike.
You've been credited with the story of Main, Meri Patni.... Are you contributing any more story ideas?
I'm working on it. When it's executed there'll be a story to tell.
To get back to Malamaal Weekly how was it different from the other comedies you've done before?
You've given hits like Hungama and Garam Masala with Priyadarshan earlier. What's your take on him?
I've worked with some of the best directors in the country like Ramuji (Ram Gopal Varma), Davidji (Dhawan), Satishji (Kaushik) and Darshanji (Dharmesh) in the past and Priyan is one of them too. It's amazing the way he is able to create so much confusion on screen but away from the arclights, his mind is crystal clear. He knows exactly what his characters are going to do in which situations which makes for a very focussed plot and creative satisfaction for his actors.
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